Introducing the WUWT Great Lakes Ice Reference Page

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Image Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA)

Great Lakes Ice Cover reached 91.8% yesterday, after Wednesday’s coverage of 91% made 2014 the second highest maximum on record. Great Lakes Ice Cover is well within striking distance of the highest maximum on record of 94.7% set in 1979. Coming on the heels of last week’s second highest Southern Sea Ice Area minimum on record, and The Pause in Earth’s temperature reaching 17 years last year, the signs of Earth’s “Rapidly Accelerating” Global Warming abound…

For those of you who like to watch Global Warming not happening, in real time, we are pleased to introduce WUWT’s newest addition, the WUWT Great Lakes Ice Reference Page. The Great Lakes Ice Page offers real-time graphs and graphics on Great Lakes Ice Cover, Air Temperature, Sea Temperature, Cloud Cover, Wind and Waves, as well as a section of more focused graphs and graphics for each of the individual Great Lakes.

In addition to the WUWT Great Lakes Ice Reference Page. if you have not had the opportunity to review some our other WUWT Reference Pages, they are highly recommended:

Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data within the Reference Pages, as WUWT is simply an aggregator. All of the data is linked from third party sources. If you have doubts about the accuracy of any of the graphs on the WUWT Reference Pages, or have any suggested additions or improvements to any of the pages, please let us know in comments below.

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Paul Westhaver

Very smart. I was using the few links provided prior this reference page to fiddle with the Great Lakes Ice Products…. Now shazzam… all here!.
Very clever of you and timely. Now I know what you’ve been up to.
One thing. An ice cover total calculator is absent and each of the lake’s discrete plots don’t report an hourly value so I can’t do the sums myself… hourly. Sounds like job for Willis. ie image processing, pixel counting. Don’t get me wrong. Great page. More of a complaint about the source data.

Paul Westhaver

A second additional thought is this would be a good place for media to get a good summary all in one place.

Janice Moore

Thank you, so much, Just the Facts, for your mighty efforts to get the truth out there! You are a one-man or one-woman climate truth army. YOU ROCK!
Gratefully,
Janice

Gail Combs

Thank, Just the Facts,
You satisfied the curiosity bone. {:>)

Liz

Thanks for the page – it’s nice to scroll down vs clicking on multiple pages to get the info.
Paul – in looking at the source data, it seems that the lake pages are updated at 0, 6, 12, 18 hours (GMT). The gray-scale summary page seems to be produced once a day. For example, the 3/5 summary showing all of the lakes is noted as being as of 3/5 at 18:00 GMT. But, the fine print states that it was updated on 3/6 at 00:33:17GMT.
I haven’t been able to find anything that we can use to estimate the interim numbers. But, the new number for ice coverage should be larger, since the Ontario coverage has increased from 39.5% on 3/5 18:00GMT to 49.9% coverage as of 3/6 18:00 GMT. All of the other lakes had minor increases of .1 – .7%.
I’m a Michigander by birth but living in the warmer south. Just have to worry about twisters and earthquakes!

spdrdr

Why is the water temperature 28 degrees Celsius in the open areas?

Pete

As a matter of interest, does anyone know why Lake Ontario isn’t iced over like the other Great Lakes?
Thanks,
Pete

Alan Robertson

Paul Westhaver says:
March 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm
A second additional thought is this would be a good place for media to get a good summary all in one place.
_____________________
Have you noticed any indication that “the media” would be the least bit interested?

Alan Robertson

Liz says:
March 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm
I’m a Michigander by birth but living in the warmer south. Just have to worry about twisters and earthquakes!
______________________
Sounds like you might be a resident of the great state of Oklahoma.

Ed

The Canadians have a great data set also in Environmental Canada even tracks ice thickness

Jim Bo

You can always rely upon AP to make a warm silk purse from a frigid sow’s ear. If the subject of possible record ice cover is (cough) “inconvenient”, change it to a discussion of “water levels”…

Snow, ice cover will boost Great Lakes levels
By JOHN FLESHER
AP Environmental Writer
Mar 5, 11:07 PM EST
[snip]
Great Lakes levels dropped sharply in the late 1990s and have remained mostly below normal since. Scientists blame a warming climate, which promotes evaporation and limits ice cover, and occasional dry spells.

CRS, DrPH

Thanks, Anthony! As a resident of the Chicago area (and avid ice-fisherman), I’ve long held an interest in how our lakes behave. This winter has been a doozy….Coast Guard ice-breakers have been extremely busy, breaking ice for commercial shipping vessels.
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/watch-coast-guard-ice-breakers-work-to-keep-great-lakes-shipping-channels-open/
The ice cover is good news for these aquatic systems, as it is preventing evaporation and allowing the lakes to build up some liquid capacity. The heavy snow cover we share in this area will be a blessing to regional farmers, who have dealt with a rather crushing drought for a season or so.

u.k.(us)

There is a fun website that I’ve been following for years, here:
http://duluthshippingnews.com/
They are very proud of their port (as they should be).
I check it every day.
It’s at the west end of Lake Superior.

Steve from Rockwood

Awesome!

Steve from Rockwood

@Pete.
The reasons why Lake Ontario doesn’t freeze over are varied and speculative.
1. It is the last Great Lake in the chain;
2. It has a lower elevation compared to the other lakes;
3. Niagara Falls empties into it (the largest volume falls in the world);
4. Lots of cities on the lake (Hamilton, Toronto, Buffalo) so perhaps some human footprint;
5. It’s a deep lake with a low surface area to volume ratio – so harder to cool / warm.

James the Elder

spdrdr says:
March 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Why is the water temperature 28 degrees Celsius in the open areas?
Well, since we know it’s not, it must be +1-2C

Steve C

Thank you, JTF, for “yet another” piece of good work, and to Our Host for providing the page to put it on. This site is probably the best aggregator of hard climate info there is as a result, and very much appreciated. Kudos to you both.

I’ve followed lysimeter/pan evaporator issues for some time. It is conventional wisdom that ~30% of loss from Lake Michigan is due to evaporation. I find that number amazing.
Here are the web cams nearest my home –
http://www.wisferry.com/web-cam/#camera1
http://www.wisferry.com/web-cam/#camera2
http://www.wisferry.com/web-cam/#camera3

I am sure this is all of great interest to North American readers, but be wary of accusations of cherry-picking which events you cover. What would you write if SkS started regular updates on a particular heatwave somewhere in the world?

clipe
Mohatdebos

A good article in the Detroit News http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140305/METRO06/303050105/0/METRO06/Lake-Superior-within-reach-historic-average-water-levels-Corps-projects
on how Lake Superior is within reach of its historical water levels, but no mention of the fact that alarmists had been prophesying the death of the Great Lakes because of global warming.

Alan Robertson

Thanks for this great addition to WUWT’s handy reference pages.

Other data shows Lake Michigan surface water temperatures ~32°F Image date 2/22/2014
http://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/michigan/m1.html

Gail Combs

Jonathan Abbott says:
March 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm
I am sure this is all of great interest to North American readers, but be wary of accusations of cherry-picking which events you cover….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Don’t worry, the Propaganda outlets News media and others cover all the hyperventilating over any warm event or any drought or flooding or storminess that can possibly be connected to GoreBull Warming. Therefore it is not necessary for A.W. to cover those events although he often does.
What A.W. is doing is covering the stuff that is NOT readily available.

Doug Huffman says:
March 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm
I’ve followed lysimeter/pan evaporator issues for some time. It is conventional wisdom that ~30% of loss from Lake Michigan is due to evaporation. I find that number amazing.

Good!
If you do follow those pans, what is your best estimate of the “h” factor for the heat flow equivalent resistance from a surface (both water and ice!) at a near-zero temperature surface to a arctic-like air mass flowing over that surface?
I have pressure, air temperature, and air dew temperature (wet bulb) data available, but would prefer you verify the (often-conflicting) equations I find in the literature.

Psalmon

Nobody seemed to care about the Great Lakes last Summer after levels recovered from record lows.

DonnieMac

It’s not only the Great Lakes getting near-record winter conditions. While all the headlines in the UK have been about the floods in the south of England, Scotland’s mountains have had record snowfall, with snow depths at Cairngorm reaching 9 metres. The ski centres are having a bumper year, or they would have if there wasn’t so much snow the ski-tows have to be dug out every day. Check the last picture on the BBC Scotland website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26287347

Sorry Practicing ;-}) Engineer, my formal training is in (nuclear power) Critical Feat Flux and boiling water physics and I retired in 1995. But cite a correlation and I’d be interested to look at it.

Dave N

Hey, I can see Romm’s head exploding from here!

Wow – the winds out of the east moved the ice over the entire lake to the west (notice the gap along the shoreline on the east side of the lake! Notice the other lakes have this same ‘feature’ due to the unusual winds from the east) … conditions were clear over Michigan today, too … about a 7 hour visible image loop below:
http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/displaySat.php?region=DTW&itype=vis&size=large&endDate=20140306&endTime=-1&duration=7
Surface winds from east as shown depicted on the (approx) 6 hr loop below:
http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/surface/displaySfc.php?region=dtw&endDate=20140306&endTime=-1&duration=6
.

M Courtney

Steve from Rockwood says at March 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

@Pete.
The reasons why Lake Ontario doesn’t freeze over are varied and speculative.
1. It is the last Great Lake in the chain;
2. It has a lower elevation compared to the other lakes;
3. Niagara Falls empties into it (the largest volume falls in the world);
4. Lots of cities on the lake (Hamilton, Toronto, Buffalo) so perhaps some human footprint;
5. It’s a deep lake with a low surface area to volume ratio – so harder to cool / warm.

Worth repeating as these answers are spot on right except…
They are in the perfect, wrong (reverse) order.

Jim

When the ice and the snow melt…
http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/dbd/

John F. Hultquist

Pete says:
March 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

This from FAQ page here:
http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/ice/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Why does Lake Ontario generally have the least ice cover of all the Great Lakes?
“Lake Ontario’s extreme depth (86 m average; 244 m maximum) translates to tremendous heat storage capacity. It also has a smaller surface area for heat loss. In addition, cold air outbreaks from the northwest and west are moderated by the waters of Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. These factors combine to keep ice cover on Lake Ontario at a relatively low level most years.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can view the Lake’s geomorphology here:
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/greatlakes/lakeontario_cdrom/html/gmorph.htm#a
Area 7 in the eastern part is the deepest. It is called the Rochester Basin.
There is a large color chart with notes for many parts in a pdf here:
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/images/ontario_72.pdf
I think it is interesting that this part freezes over while the western and shallower end does not.

M Courtney says: March 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm “Worth repeating as these answers are spot on right except…They are in the perfect, wrong (reverse) order.”
What, please, establishes the correct order?

Jonathan Abbott says:
March 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm
I am sure this is all of great interest to North American readers, but be wary of accusations of cherry-picking which events you cover. What would you write if SkS started regular updates on a particular heatwave somewhere in the world?
—————————————————————————————
How is detailing a real time ongoing natural event a cherry pick? The lakes, due to their size, have effects that will be more than just regional. Just like the Arctic does, or any other area that has a significant affect on a region.
Anyway, who gives a rats foot what sks does. It only took about 4 or 5 times of perusing sks to realize that there was nothing there that would properly educate me. That was back in 2008, when I was just beginning to read about climate change.

DonnieMac says:
March 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm
————————————–
That was a nice photo essay of the Scottish landscape.

Jimbo

Brrrrr. As Bob Tisdale might say.

NikFromNYC

Thus to kill an enemy? Or to float above it all, forevermore? Few have free will. Fewer still are Gods.

Andrew Stagg

spdrdr says:
March 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Why is the water temperature 28 degrees Celsius in the open areas?
I too am a bit confused with the legend. It could be 28degC – or it could be 1degC since BOTH have a similar blue on the “Water Temperature” scale chart.
I’m also confused what’s been plotted – I’m asumming its mainly ice and the residual is water temperature.
Good chart otherwise tho

clipe
clipe

clipe says:
March 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm
Is Lake Ontario on the wrong side of the Niagara Peninsula?
Escarpment not Peninsula

u.k.(us)

clipe says:
March 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm
clipe says:
March 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm
Is Lake Ontario on the wrong side of the Niagara Peninsula?
Escarpment not Peninsula
==========
Nice catch.

Pete

Many thanks to … M Courtney, Steve from Rockwood, and John Hultquist … for the guidance re Lake Ontario’s preference not to freeze.
Learn something new every day here at WUWT.
Pete

Steve from Rockwood

M Courtney says:
March 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm
——————————————-
My apologies to Buffalonians. I moved the city from the eastern edge of Lake Erie to the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Not to worry. I put the whole city back.
It makes sense that the ratio of surface area to volume has an important influence on ice coverage but Lake Superior has the same ratio so air temperature and wind must also play a major role.
Lake Ontario receives a lot of that southern (warm) air moving northeast from the mid-west US.

Rud Istvan

Well, we were going to go to Chicago for the rest of this month. Then you had to post this! Plus she noticed this morning that the Chicago high would be 19. So now we are going to her North Georgia mountain cabin, where it will snow this weekend and the temps will only be in the mild 30s. (if Accuweather is right, whichnis never is…) Welcome to the eventual spring, whenever it finally comes.

Liz

Alan R @ 1:06pm – yes, former Michigander and now an Oklahoman. Used to the tornado warnings, not quite used to the rumblings and shakings. I check the OK Mesonet and OK Geological Services quite often and make sure the insurance is all paid up!
I noticed that the GL ice highs were in 1979, 1994, 2003 and this year. We’ve heard a lot about the polar vortex this year and how it is blasting the US. Has anyone seen any links to past very strong artic winds and high ice cover on the Great Lakes? I’ll start looking for the info, but if someone has it, please share!

That is not ice, that is only foam from the tops of waves caused by the horror high winds from Climate Change caused by CO2 caused by Americans greedy and driving their cars to work every day.
Walk or else.

u.k.(us)

I made a small fortune shoveling snow when I was 16, during the global cooling scare of the late 70’s.
Then things sort of calmed down.
Now I’m 51, and the snows of my youth are falling again.
I haven’t done the math, but I think I’ve shoveled 10,000 pounds of snow off my driveway so far this winter.
She is gonna have to work harder to kill me.
Which should in no way, be, deemed an insult.

Ossqss

So far the kinda only thing I have not found is the Saharan air layer analysis in the tropical weather section.
That would be unless I missed it :-]
Here’s one of many you can use.
http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/salmain.php?prod=splitEW

John F. Hultquist

u.k.(us) says:
March 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm
“. . . I think I’ve shoveled 10,000 pounds of snow off my driveway
. . .”
When global warming gets about belt high on my house roof I think about shoveling it off – especially if the weather people think it will rain. The driveway shows no distress, however. I’m an optimist and can wait for spring – or my neighbor with a great big tractor.